Best Hotel for Internet in Seattle area?
August 11, 2021 3:54 PM   Subscribe

If you have personal experience, especially within the last few years, with using internet for business/video at a hotel in the Seattle area please help!

I have a work opportunity that I will absolutely need to have 100% connectivity for video during, with no dropping of signal. This is huge for me and important enough that it's worth renting a hotel for the time of the event to make sure there's no hiccups. (My home internet sucks). But I'm having a hard time determining which is the actual best connectivity - obviously every hotel advertises great internet, checking reviews seems at least half of them are lying. What is good and how can I make sure to have as few problems as possible?
posted by sockmeamadeus to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be a hotel? You could rent space at WeWork which is designed with professional network access.
posted by jpeacock at 4:47 PM on August 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

What about reserving a room in a public library?
posted by 10ch at 5:14 PM on August 11, 2021

the key to any internet connection is wired ethernet. hardly any hotels offer this anymore at all. they all deploy wifi via stations embedded in the woodwork, so they have no incentive to run ethernet into the rooms.

wework is a good suggestion. i searched for "hourly office rental" in seattle and there seem to be a dozen providers at least. day passes that i saw were in the $100 range, so rent-an-office is probably cheaper than a hotel to boot.

and offices understand what you're really asking for with "fast internet" - an ethernet jack with a fairly big pipe to the outside world. just make sure they know that you need that.
posted by bruceo at 5:15 PM on August 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

I hosted an event at the W in Bellevue and while I had to pay extra for internet, it was very reliable. They say on their website that you can get high speed, wired internet for a fee. You can probably get this at the W Seattle as well. I just mention the Bellevue W because I personally used the internet there, and it was totally solid.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:02 PM on August 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

It is unusual for any decent hotel to deliberately have bad Internet.

There is sometimes a thing where they want you to pay for a better tier of Internet, such as for streaming, but this is less popular than it was a few years back.

Most of the rest of the puzzle is up to factors not entirely under the control of the hotel.

As mentioned above, wired ethernet is the ideal mechanism, because it eliminates one of the two primary areas of ambiguity, which is wifi. It used to be, and in some areas still is, that a hotel owner would ask his kid or a technical friend to go out and buy some "routers" and hook things up. These setups never worked well, but in recent years, companies like Ubiquiti have stepped up to make deploying relatively decent wifi access point networks easy even for beginners.

Number of and placement of access points has a huge effect on the quality of wifi. As the frequencies increase, the density of access points needs to increase, because it is harder for signals to penetrate walls and floors. The 6GHz endgame is likely to be an access point in every room for good performance, and it's likely to be pretty amazing for sites that do this.

Unfortunately, proper heat mapping and placement of wifi is something that takes significant time, tools, and some expertise to do, and oftentimes your lowball bid professional contractors aren't doing it. This makes it very hard to predict the quality of wifi at any particular hotel, especially since a guest in Room 310 might have great signal because there's an access point in their room, but 313 two doors down and across the hallway has a dead zone.

The other factor is the upstream connectivity. Many hotels use business-class cable or telco provided connections, and often don't have a lot of options to pick from. This is usually much better in cities though, and lots of them are actually able to get fiber if they are within a dense urban area.
posted by jgreco at 4:30 AM on August 12, 2021

I looked up the Westin’s internet kind of as a joke because one of the Westin buildings now houses a big colo (local nets hook into the inter-net there). That’s not the hotel itself, but some of their rooms do specify wired as well as wireless internet.
posted by clew at 9:28 AM on August 12, 2021

Response by poster: The problem I see with wework looking at their website is that it needs to be a completely isolated space - I will need to turn my camera to show the person on video that it is secure. So a room all to myself might work, but looking on wework it seems like that's pretty expensive if you're not using their plan?

It sounds like I need to call hotels and specify that I need wired internet and that will take care of /most/ of the problems? I'm also pretty non-tech-savvy, so I don't really know what happens when "internet goes out" - I'm assuming by what folks are saying that it's usually the wifi, not actually the internet service to the hotel itself?

Additional factor: my laptop doesn't have an ethernet port. I have gotten one of those USB-to-ethernet ports connectors at someone's advice (it says 'Gigabit LAN' on it for what it's worth). Are those pretty reliable? Is there a good way to test it before then?

Thanks everyone in advance, this is pretty important to me and I really appreciate your time.
posted by sockmeamadeus at 10:14 AM on August 12, 2021

FWIW, maybe research any major hotel around the Belltown area of Seattle. Amazon recruits stay in some hotels there and they absolutely need reliable internet.
posted by Tardis_Spin at 1:00 PM on August 12, 2021

The Westin is in South Lake Union/Belltown. Possibly you should call them and ask what throughput they expect for their wired access.

Do you have any Ethernet to connect to to test your connector?
posted by clew at 1:14 PM on August 12, 2021

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